tv Alex Witt Reports MSNBC April 10, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
good day, everybody, from msnbc world headquarters in new york, i'm aaron gilchrist in for alex witt. here's what's happening at 2:00 p.m. eastern, 11:00 a.m. pacific. we begin with the latest on the derek chauvin murder trial and new details from the autopsy conducted on george floyd. the court is in recess until monday after ten days of hearings and testimony from 35 witnesses. among them were eight minneapolis police officers and the chief of police. nbc's meagan fitzgerald joins us now from outside the courthouse with the latest. meagan, some critical details coming in the testimony we saw this week. >> reporter: yeah, aaron, i can tell you, it was a show of force this week for the prosecution who called expert witness after expert witness. the week started with minneapolis's top cop talking to jurors, and it ended with jurors
hearing from the chief medical examiner, who conducted the autopsy on george floyd. so far, the prosecution has called 35 witnesses to try and plead their case. >> i'm still classified as a homicide -- >> reporter: hennepin county's medical examiner doubling down friday on his autopsy report, telling jurors the officer's actions led to george floyd's death, not drugs or preexisting conditions. >> mr. floyd's use of fentanyl did not cause the subdual or neck restraint. his heart disease did not cause the subdual or the neck restraint. >> the defense pushing back. >> do you recall describing the level of fentanyl as a fatal level of fentanyl? >> i recall describing it in other circumstances, it would be a fatal level, yes. >> dr. andrew baker, the latest medical expert to take the stand for the prosecution. >> there's no evidence to suggest he would have died that night except for the
interactions with law enforcement. >> mr. floyd died from a low level of oxygen, and this caused damage to his brain. >> reporter: this comes after several police officers testified against their own, reacting to the 9 minutes and 29 seconds derek chauvin had his knee on george floyd's neck. >> you want to use the least amount of force necessary. >> i don't know what kind of improvised position that is. so, it's not what we train. >> right. >> yeah. >> what are you doing? >> reporter: the defense claiming that the crowd of bystanders distracted chauvin. >> when an officer is on scene and he's making a decision to use force, and a crowd assembles, a reasonable officer has to be aware of what they're doing, right? >> absolutely. >> and and that can distract an officer? >> can in certain instances, yes. >> reporter: and in a rare move, minneapolis police chief aradondo took the witness stand
and didn't mince words. >> that is by policy, it is not part of our training and is certainly not part of our ethics or values. >> reporter: the prosecution will likely rest its case early next week, then of course the defense will call their first witness. this trial could go on until the end of april, aaron. >> all right, meagan fitzgerald for us in minneapolis today. meagan, thank you. joining us now, paul henderson, veteran federal prosecutor and legal analyst and board certified forensic pathologist dr. julie, ceo of pathology expert, inc. thank you both for being here. paul, i'll start with you. what do you think was the strongest moment for the prosecution in this week's presentation? >> this week, i would say, without a doubt, it was dr. tobin. having him as one of the world-renowned experts, without a fee, come in and articulate so clearly what was important about this case and why he was sure
that this death was caused by not an angry crowd, not birds flying overhead, but by derek chauvin and his knee. that, i thought, was really powerful, and he was an outstanding witness, not just because he made the arguments for the prosecution but because he so effectively shut down the challenges from the defense attorney, eric nelson, asking him the questions, and in my opinion, he closed to doors to some of the arguments that eric nelson could have made in the future. an outstanding witness and absolutely the cornerstone, i believe, from the prosecution's case in terms of connecting the egregious behavior to causation from a medical and scientific analysis. >> doctor, i'll ask you to weigh in here. what do you make of the number of experts who were presented before we actually saw the medical examiner's actual autopsy report? did that stand out to you? >> it did not stand out to me,
especially because when you look at the autopsy report, you realize that there's a lot of medical information in there, and it's complex medical information. mr. floyd had preexisting conditions of heart disease. he had an incidental tumor. he also had drugs in his system, specifically fentanyl and methamphetamine so you're going to need those experts in order to weigh in and explain to the jury in simple terms how those can play in or be totally irrelevant to the cause of death. >> and paul, how do you think the prosecution handled that particular document, this autopsy report from the official medical examiner and do you see any way that the defense can use this autopsy now to its benefit? >> yeah, i do. and let me just say, when you're doing a homicide, this is always a complicated issue of unpacking, like, how the heart stopped, how the breathing stopped, and tying it to the causal connection from what a defendant may have done.
this is always an issue when you have medical experts on the stand unpacking it for them because the jury, remember, this is a lay audience, and so they don't really understand all of these terms, and you don't want them distracted by the red herrings of other factors that may have contributed. you want them focused on the defendant that is being charged and his actions, and that's the role of the prosecution. i thought they did a good job of presenting the appropriate witnesses. i would have liked for them to reiterate some of the points that were made by the experts that they had on the stand to make it absolutely clear that while these other roles may have affected george floyd's health overall, they were not the main cause of him dying and being killed because of derek chauvin. but i did think that they were able to open the door a little bit, at least, for the defense with a couple of issues in terms of what they described related to the other factors. now, the problem is that as they
qualified them as in other circumstances or with hypotheticals, as long as we're making it clear to the jury that those were not the circumstances, that is not this hypothetical, that is not what we're focusing on, and again, that's going to come up in argument. that's the way to address it. but i do believe there were a couple of little nuggets this there is that defense attorneys -- that the defense attorney can follow up on to address causation, and that's going to be the lynchpin, i believe, of his defense, because i don't believe he's going to have an opportunity to put chauvin on the stand or i -- i would be very surprised if he did. >> yeah. a lot of experts seem to agree with you on that point. doctor, the expert witnesses, as you alluded to, focused on the pressure that derek chauvin applied to george floyd's body. they focused on what they saw in some of the video analyzing that video evidence. i want you to hear what the million examiner said in response to a question from derek chauvin's attorney. >> so, in your opinion, both the
heart disease as well as the history of hypertension and the drug -- the drugs that were in his system played a role in mr. floyd's death? >> in my opinion, yes. >> so, doctor, what's your take on that? does this mean heart disease necessarily caused george floyd's death? >> the medical examiner was clear that what caused george floyd's death was the physical stress on mr. floyd from the altercation with the police and the pressure on his neck. the heart disease and the drugs in his system were present. they were what we would consider contributing conditions because they made him more vulnerable to the pressure on his neck and the pressure on his back, but they are not the cause. so, it's really important to focus in on when you hear the questions and they seem to contradict each other, whether it's the same expert
contradicting themselves or experts appearing to contradict one another, you have to really listen to see what question are they answering, and dr. baker was focusing on the findings from the autopsy. the other experts were focusing on the video or police procedures, and so each one is going to bring in a different level of expertise and knowledge and background. >> all right, it's not an easy job for these jurors to do, but they have to listen closely to all the details coming in and try to make the right decision here. paul henderson, dr. julia melinek, appreciate your time. thanks. now, a look at today's other big headlines, including this breaking news. new reporting from the associated press is shedding light on the timeline of the january 6th capitol hill riots, including vice president mike pence, who, in an urgent phone call to the acting defense secretary, reportedly demanded to, quote, clear the capitol. a spokesman for former vice
president mike pence declined to offer comment to nbc news on that reporting. the a.p. also writing that elsewhere in the building, senate majority leader chuck schumer and house speaker nancy pelosi were making a similarly dire appeal to military leaders, asking the army to deploy the national guard. schumer saying, quote, we need help. the associated press citing a previously undisclosed document prepared by the pentagon for internal use that was obtained by the a.p. and vetted by current and former government officials. also new today, congressman matt gaetz on defense as the federal probe against the florida congressman intensifying. gaetz publicly speaking out last night once again defying and denying these allegations, calling it a smear. >> i'm built for the battle, and i'm not going anywhere. when you see the anonymous sources and insiders forecasting my demise, know this. they aren't really coming for me. they're coming for you.
and this weekend, several prominent republicans and donors are descending on mar-a-lago for an rnc retreat and looming large over this event, former president donald trump. coming up, i'll speak to a "washington post" reporter with exclusive new reporting on what's now being called the center of the republican universe. let's go to amanda golden on capitol hill right now. amanda, you have some new reporting as well this hour concerning congressman matt gaetz. what can you tell us? >> reporter: that's right, aaron. so, we've now learned that there is a second staffer from congressman matt gaetz's office that has left his position just within the last few days, and that comes as we would previously reported that his communications director, an individual named luke ball, had resigned in protest. he had quit, according to a source familiar, said that he quit out of principle for these ongoing investigations and all the news that we are seeing circulating around congressman gaetz. we now are learning that his legislative director, a man named devin murphy, also left his position and when i asked devin murphy for comment, i emailed his house email, as a
matter of fact, i got an automated bounceback that said i'm no longer with the office of congressman gaetz, womp, cue the sad trombone. that is a quote. a new investigation has come up looking into these allegations of congressman gaetz, honing in specifically on allegations related to sexual misconduct and illicit drug use. that's part of what's included in this. we have a new statement from the house ethics committee speaking to that scope where they say, quote, the committee is aware of public allegations that representative matt gaetz may have engaged in sexual misconduct, shared inappropriate images or videos on the house floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe, improper gratuity or impermissible gift in violation of house rules, laws and other standards of conduct and the house committee will continue to look into these allegations. they will gather evidence but they noted as part of that statement, if we continued reading, that this is not necessarily a violation. they will look into all these recent reports but that's not necessarily equating something that has been done wrong but
nonetheless, congressman matt gaetz's office is out with yet another denial, a strong at the same time that reads, quote, the office will reiterate these allegations are blatantly false and have not been validated by a single human being willing to put their name behind them and there's very little coming out from republican lawmakers in support of gaetz right now. you have the usual suspects, pro-trump individuals like marjorie taylor greene, staunch allies of the former president that are coming to his defense but only one congressional republican lawmaker has so far spoken out, saying that gaetz should resign and that's congressman adam kinzinger. he's the first and only that we've seen so far. but i want you to take a listen to some of what former congresswoman katie hill said just last hour. she's someone who gaetz actually defended when nude photos were released of her without her permission but she's not standing by gaetz any longer. >> the fact that he defended me for the very thing that he has likely been perpetrating is just -- it's just disgusting, it's something that, you know, i don't want to have any association with. and it made me question his
motives for defending me in the first place. >> reporter: and congressman gaetz is doubling down as we said. he's denying all allegations, saying he's not going anywhere. he's also now hired a crisis communications firm to work with his office to combat some of these allegations and brought in legal counsel by retaining some white-collar criminal defense attorneys, one of whom is currently representing the trump organization in an ongoing probe. aaron? >> all right, nbc's amanda golden for us on capitol hill today. amanda, thank you. now, to some new reaction to president biden's efforts to combat gun violence in america with executive action. in some parts of the country, that's sending gun sales soaring. nbc's scott cohn joins me now from a gun range in san jose, california. what are the experts saying about a possible surge in gun buying? >> reporter: well, totally, aaron, we're already seeing it in the last few days, and certainly through the first three months of this year, this is a familiar pattern that we've seen in times like these when we talk about regulation surfaces.
take a look at the figures on background checks. just in the first three months of this year, we're running at nearly twice the rate that we ran in 2019. that's on top of nearly 40 million background checks last year. experts say it has to do certainly with the pandemic, the social unrest last summer, and of course now the talk about regulation and the national shooting sports foundation, which is the gun industry's main trade group, says as this talk grows, that spike is likely to grow larger. >> the consumer reacts when they perceive that their rights might be restricted by laws or regulations, and that's a reality of the market. and you know, given the president's unfortunate rhetoric, which we wish he wasn't using these terms, would stop, but if they continue, i think it's natural for us to
expect sales to continue to be very strong. >> reporter: having said all that, there are some small slivers of common ground as we take a look at the actions that president biden unveiled this past week. the industry is concerned about things like restricting ghost guns and stabilizing braces, that those might impinge on lawful gun owners and they're concerned about potentially politicizing the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms but on the topic of red flag laws, they say they are open to that as long as due process is respected, and they also say that they would support some strengthening of the national background check system. so, these may be some areas of common ground, but there continues to be a whole lot of friction and in the face of that, aaron, lots of guns and lots of ammunition being sold. >> all right, scott cohn for us in san jose, california. thank you. well, after all the recent mass shootings, you wouldn't think a member of congress is
promoting a gun giveaway. that's exactly what is happening, though. you may be able to guess who that member is. i'll ask another member of congress about all this next. and prince charles makes his first public statement on the passing of his father, prince philip, as buckingham palace prepares for a final farewell. e prepares for a final farewell. so you're a small business, or a big one. you were thriving, but then... oh. ah. okay. plan, pivot. how do you bounce back? you don't, you bounce forward,
some breaking news this saturday, prince harry will attend prince philip's funeral without his wife, meghan markle. this announcement comes as prince charles spoke for the first time since the passing of his father. raf sanchez joins us from in front of windsor castle. what's the latest from the royal family at this hour? >> reporter: yeah, aaron, we heard a short time ago from prince charles, the heir to the british throne, for the first time since the death of his father, prince philip. like father, like son, prince charles is normally a pretty reserved man, known for his stiff british upper lip, not
given, usually, to public displays of emotion, but he paid a touching tribute to the man he called my dear papa. take a listen. >> my dear papa was a very special person who i think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him. and from that point of view, we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that. it will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time. >> reporter: now, as you said, prince harry will attend his grandfather's funeral a week today. we will see him back in the uk from california, standing alongside his brother, prince william, his father, prince charles, and the queen for the first time since that explosive interview that he and meghan markle gave to oprah winfrey. meghan markle will not be
attending. she is pregnant with the couple's second child. palace officials say her doctors have advised her not to travel. we're also getting a sense of quite how scaled down the funeral is going to be here at windsor castle a week today because of the covid restrictions that are still in place in the uk. the entire event is going to take place behind closed doors, behind the castle walls. the public will not be able to attend in any form, and palace officials are appealing to the public, don't show up at the castle gates. you won't be able to see anything. only 30 guests are going to be allowed inside of st. george's chapel where prince philip will be laid to rest. that ceremony is going to happen in line with britain's pretty strict covid guidelines. that may mean the queen and other members of the royal family wearing masks as they sit in those pews. the funeral will take place at
3:00 p.m., and at that time, there will be a national moment of silence all across britain. the prince's body in his coffin will be carried in a modified land rover that he actually had a hand himself in designing. he had a long-time affection for that vehicle, and he was an original right up to the end so it will be a modified land rover carrying his coffin through windsor castle to st. george's chapel. aaron? >> it will be quite a service for the prince there in great britain. raf sanchez for us outside london and windsor, thanks. and of course, we will have complete coverage of prince philip's funeral next saturday right here on msnbc. a pair of republican congresswomen trumpeting guns in the face of president biden's new executive actions. georgia congresswoman marjorie taylor greene is promoting her latest gun giveaway. the raffle is a -- is for a q
honey badger pistol, which has been targeted for tightened regulation by the atf. the president's executive orders also drawing criticism from colorado congresswoman lauren boebert. on twitter, she wrote, the second amendment is absolute. anyone who says otherwise is a tyrant. joining me now is california congressman john garamendi, a democrat, member of the house armed services and transportation and infrastructure committees. congressman, we appreciate your time today. one of the recent mass shootings we know happened in georgia. another in colorado. and here we have congress members from both of those states sort of promoting guns without even a nod to say that there may need to be something done. when you see this sort of conversation, these statements happening, how does anybody hope for any gun reform when this is the narrative of the party on the other side? >> well, i noticed you were lost for words and i would be lost for words trying to explain what those two women are really
thinking and what they're looking at the safety of their own constituency. all of these mass shootings are a result of people having guns. and to suggest that there can be no regulation at all is simply not factual, nor is it constitutional. there are regulations. there have been regulations. california has had some very strong and broad regulations of guns having to do with the purchase and background checks and the like, and you cannot buy an automatic firearm, an ar-15 or any other, here in california. and so, let's get on with it. we need to be wise here. people are killing others with guns. do they have a legitimate reason to have those guns? maybe not. this issue of ghost guns, why would a person want a ghost gun? because it has no serial number on it, because it can be hidden? what kind of person is that? likely to be a criminal.
the president says, let's regulate those. let's not allow those. yeah. let's not allow those ghost guns, because that's what the criminal wants. no way to be associated with that gun. >> congressman, i want to turn to president biden's infrastructure plan, this $2 trillion plan. republican opposition to the proposal has been made pretty clear at this point. as congress starts to work on this legislation, and if bipartisanship is something that's actually supposed to happen, what shape do you think it needs to take in order to achieve some sort of bipartisan support? >> well, we ought to look at what shape should it need to be to achieve the goals of a nation? america, that is in serious competition with china. if we only do roads and bridges, we're leaving out the kinds of investments that we must make, infrastructure investments, to put us in a position to be competitive with china. what are those? education. we know that the education
system has changed as a result of covid. it's not going to go back. we know that research is absolutely fundamental to success tomorrow and the years ahead. that's infrastructure. we know that, in my district, you cannot communicate because there is no broadband services. our farmers cannot engage in modern agriculture because there's no broadband service. and i would daresay that in the central part of this nation, there are republican senators that are going, oh, well, we don't want housing in los angeles, but we sure as heck want to have broadband in iowa or nebraska. sure. there's a compromise there. you want broadband? urban centers need housing, need sanitation, need sewage systems. sure, we can put that together. >> so, you do see some room to work together? i mean, there used to be a time when legislating was about finding compromise across the board, broad spectrum of issues, and we've -- we understand the details of this plan, but the
fact that there needs to be an effort to get republicans and democrats to find a middle ground seems to be something that has eluded congress in recent years. >> well, that's certainly true. things have become very hyper, very partisan. but infrastructure, if you're looking to the future of your own district or your own state, you must consider infrastructure in the broadest possible way. for example, in the infrastructure bill, there's a re-education. we know that perhaps as many as 20 million americans are still unemployed as a result of covid. now, that's more than the official rate, but that's probably closer to the truth. many of those people will not go back to the same jobs. they need to be prepared for tomorrow's jobs, and tomorrow's jobs are going to come from those fundamental infrastructure investments. the new modern manufacturing technologies. the new research that's going to come out with biotech or
pharmaceutical companies. all of those things. so, we need to really prepare america for the remainder of this century. now, if we fail to do that, if all we're doing are bridges and roads, we're going to miss an extremely important moment where we can do this, and for my republican friends, let's talk about it. how do we find the compromise? and oh, by the way, if you refuse to negotiate, if all you're going to say is, no, and hell no, then take a look at reconciliation. it can be done with 50 votes in the senate or 51 votes in the senate. >> almost out of time here, congressman, but i do want to ask you about what's happening with amazon. warehouse workers, we know, in alabama voted really overwhelmingly against forming a union there. if it had been approved, this would have been the first time in the u.s. for amazon to do something like this. are you surprised by the results here? >> no, not at all.
you cannot find a state that is more anti-union than this particular state. and their neighboring states, the same. there was over 2,000 people that decided that they wanted to have at least a voice in this issue, and of course, the union organizers lost. but this issue doesn't go away. working conditions and pay are fundamental to all of us, wherever you happen to be across this nation. and so, there will be other attempts, perhaps at amazon and certainly other places around this nation, because people understand that working together, working in a union gives you the opportunity to improve your financial as well as your workplace situation. >> all right, california congressman john garamendi, we appreciate your time today, sir. thank you. >> thank you. thank you, aaron. well, he's not giving it away for free. how the former president is
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now to the latest on the coronavirus pandemic. so-called vaccine passports are sparking new debate around the country. new york launched its first of its kind digital app to prove whether a person has been vaccinated. msnbc correspondent cori coffin is in new york city now with more details on this. a controversial thing, cori. how are health officials defending a need for a sort of a health pass? >> reporter: yeah, this really seems like the next major debate in the pandemic, aaron, and what they're saying is that vaccine passports should be a good way to allow the public to feel more confident to come out into these crowded spaces and also a good way for cities and industries to be able to reopen up with these large numbers and get back to normal without a fear of resurgence. for example, where we are, all these people out here out in the
open air, but inside stores, inside broadway, that sort of thing. if you're not familiar with what a vaccine passport is, i'll explain it for you. it's basically a digital record to make sure that, you know, it's not just your doctor that has that information. it can be on your phone, in a qr code, you can provide it to whatever venue you go to. it's been used at madison square garden and yankee stadium. it's being considered in illinois, colorado, hawaii. the problem is people have used it so far in new york here say that it can be quite complicated, a little bit cumbersome and easily duplicated. people can take that qr code and use it again and again. in addition, there are privacy concerns, which is why even the federal government has said they will not be rolling out a federal vaccination program when it comes to passports or proving that you have been vaccinated. but a pfizer board member, who's also the former fda commissioner, said those folks who are a little bit wary of this are looking at it all wrong.
listen to what he said. >> i think we've been thinking about vaccine passports through the wrong lens. i think that the way they're likely to be used is really to create two lanes of access to different venues. one that's going to require maybe some testing, some secondary screening, and the other is going to be a fast lane where if you can demonstrate that you have been vaccinated, you're not going to have to bring proof that you have been recently tested. you're not going to have to go through some secondary symptom screening so it's going to be like an ez pass where you can go through the fast lane or if you still like to pay the toll booth. >> reporter: so the concerns over privacy or the information that you would have to give in order to have this vaccination program work -- passport program work, it has led several states to already ban them outright, florida, georgia, texas, for example. but the big question here is going to be if this is going to be the crux to allow international travel. we know several international countries that have not yet reopened major parts of tourism are considering this to allow people to travel a little bit
more. so, there's still a lot here to unpack, aaron, and like you said, much to debate about vaccine passports. >> and we're going to hear more and more of that debate as weeks go by, people get vaccinated, things try to open up. cori coffin for us in a busy times square. thank you. developing now, talks on the iran nuclear deal expected to resume next week after some signs of progress in vienna as the u.s. and iran engaged in indirect talks. russia's envoy to the u.n. tweeted yesterday, participants took stock of the work done by experts over the last three days and noted with satisfaction initial progress made. the biggest point of debate here, which sanctions the u.s. might lift and win after iranian officials called for all sanctions on the nation to end. joining me now is msnbc political contributor ben rhodes. he's also the former deputy national security advisor in the obama administration. ben, we know the two sides are expected to meet again next week to talk about -- they decided to create some working groups to
sort of go through this process together. what do you realistically think will happen when these talks have all wrapped up? >> well, aaron, the bottom line here is that in 2018, the trump administration pulled out of the nuclear deal and started piling on sanctions, including sanctions that iran was supposed to get relief from under the deal, and then iran pulled out of the nuclear deal a year later and resumed its nuclear program. and so these working groups are looking at these two things. how can iran go back to the nuclear restrictions and roll back their nuclear program under the deal? and how can the u.s. go back to providing iran the sanctions relief it was a part of that deal? the goal of these two groups, i think, is to identify, is there a date that we can put on the calendar and say, we've agreed, here's what iran has to do, here's what america has to do, and we can get this done. and it sounds like they're making some progress, but there's some tough calls ahead for both sides here. >> so, do you think that there will be a new deal any time soon, and what would you expect that to look like? >> well, for now, the new deal
is very much the old deal. can we just get back into the 2015 iran nuclear agreement? from that, i think the u.s. will then want to seek to extend parts of that deal. here's the challenge. the trump administration piled on all manner of sanctions, including sanctions that went beyond what iran faced at the time of the nuclear deal. iran will surely want all of those sanctions to go away, and the u.s. side will want to keep some of those sanctions in place because we say, look, some of these sanctions are about terrorism activity, human rights violations and not about the nuclear program so iran is seeking as much relief from sanctions they can get and the u.s. is going to be seeking going into that deal while keeping in place some other sanctions. can you get back to those original restrictions on the iranian nuclear program, roll back that program, put it under national inspections and remove the possibility of a iranian nuclear weapon in exchange for sanctions relief? and if both sides really do want to get there, there's a path back and it began this week in vienna. >> so, ben, we also saw this
week that iran released a south korean oil tanker, and it seized this ship back in january because of money that was frozen in south korean banks blocked -- they blocked this money to comply with the u.s. sanctions on iran. what do you make of that move? what does it mean for these talks, and does it change anything? >> i think it's a positive step from iran. they're trying to create a positive environment around these talks. they're trying to signal that whereas over the last couple years, when we were constantly ratcheting up almost to the brink of war between u.s. the iran, iran was only seeking to get the attention of the u.s. and the rest of the world through provocative actions like seizing oil tankers. now as this moves to diplomacy, the iranians are doing this as kind of a confidence building measure to signal, look, we're moving away from that type of provocation. we're going to test whether or not this diplomacy can work. i think it's normal that when you begin a negotiation like this, different sides try to take steps to signal positive intentions. the question is whether you can have follow through so this is
good. it's a good step. but ultimately, the proof is going to be, can they get back into that 2015 nuclear deal and can they build upon that going forward? >> so, ben, even though we've seen this progress, u.s. and iranian officials haven't met in person. we know that instead there's this shuttling back and forth of european officials between these two sides for these negotiations. is that typical, or is this sort of a sign of a relationship that is really, really bad? >> it's a sign of a relationship that's really bad. i think sometimes in diplomacy you begin this way, shuttling back and forth. that's not entirely uncommon. i think what it signals, aaron, though, is that the politics of this issue is really tough in both countries. here in the united states, you have a lot of people who didn't like the original nuclear deal. don't like the idea of sitting down at all with the iranians and inside of iran, there's a feeling that they were abiding by this deal, the u.s. pulled out, why should we sit down with these guys when they're the ones who pulled out of the deal, even though it was trump and obviously not biden who did that. i think that over time, though,
if you start talking, the positive thing is you have all our allies from europe at the table. you have china and russia at the table. i think all those world powers with u.s. and iran ultimately will bring this into a discussion in which all the parties are sitting around a table and that's necessary to get this done. >> all right, ben rhodes, we appreciate your perspective on this. thanks for your time. >> thanks, aaron. he's not in the rear view mirror. in fact, he may be behind the driver's wheel. my next guest explains why so many republicans can't resist the road to mar-a-lago. road to o
♪♪ gop donors are flocking to palm beach, florida, this weekend, for a spring retreat on the future of the party. new reporting from the "washington post" is shedding light on how former president donald trump's beach club has become the center of the republican universe. trump's spokes man jason miller telling "the post," all republican roads lead to mar-a-lago. he's the biggest name in politics and everybody wants his support and endorsement. joining me now is david, "washington post" reporter, and msnbc contributor. his byline on this article, david, you wrote that the gop is still donald trump's party. the clearest proof of that is still finding ways to pay donald trump money. how is trump still making money off the party even after he's left office?
>> well, look, he's the party's central figure. there's nobody in the republican party that has anywhere near the stature that he does. everybody wants to see him, get his endorsement and he's also basically not leaving his house. he's not leaving his properties at all. so if you want that, if you want that face time, if you want that endorsement, you got to come to mar-a-lago. and a lot of folks have decided they should not only come to mar-a-lago, they should pay to rent it out, to have fundraisers there. so, basically, trump is, you know, he's taken this valuable commodity, himself, and locked himself in a place where he can charge people to come in. so, it's a good money-making strategy. i don't know if it's a great political strategy but it's the one republicans are using right now. >> you also report that trump's company took a hit in the last year, especially after he left the white house. holding these gop fundraisers at mar-a-lago, is that part of a business plan to bring in steady revenue for his company and properties? >> i think it is good for their business. their business, as you said, has suffered really tremendously both because of covid-19, which has hit the entire hospitality
industry, but also because of trump. his toxifying politicizing his brand has driven away a lot of his old customers so his businesses are in trouble. this is one line of business he can count on, the republican party, and these republican events. but they're not making up for the events that he's lost because of politics. i think it's a net negative, so i don't know if -- it may be a deliberate strategy. it doesn't seem to be overall a successful strategy. >> you also have some new reporting about financial documents from the son of trump's cfo, allen weisselberg. what do these documents show and what does it mean for the manhattan investigation that's going on right now into trump's finances? >> well, to put this in context, the manhattan district attorney and the new york attorney general are both separately investigating trump's finances and one of the people they both really want to talk to is a guy named allen weisselberg, who is trump's long-time cfo, basically the person who knows trump's money probably better than trump does. if anybody knows about wrong doing, if there was wrong doing, it would be this guy, allen weisselberg so the authorities are looking at him, looking at
his family. one person told us the manhattan d.a. wants to get some leverage on allen weisselberg so he will flip and testify against trump. so as part of that, they've been talking to jennifer weisselberg, who is the former daughter-in-law of the cfo. she's handed over a lot of financial documents about her ex-husband, about allen weisselberg himself. basically, the way these might be useful for prosecutors is the if they showed allen weisselberg or his son engaging in tax evasion, avoiding paying taxes on free benefits they got from the company, that would get some leverage on a potential witness against trump. >> david of the "washington post" and nbc news analyst as well, david, we appreciate you. thanks. >> thanks, aaron. an army of poll watchers. inside the republican plan to get thousands of volunteers to watch mostly minority voting precincts. conventional thinking. it didn't get us to the moon. it doesn't ring the bell on wall street. or disrupt the status quo. t-mobile for business uses unconventional thinking to help you realize new possibilities.
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new report on a leaked video of a gop official calling on the need for 10,000 volunteers to form a, quote, election integrity brigade to modern polls in mostly black and hispanic houston precincts. "the post" writes, quote, the video recorded in early march comes as the texas legislature considers a set of voting changes that would expand the role of poll watchers and limit other election officials' ability to oversee those volunteers. meanwhile, a group of faith leaders is lobbying in washington for voting rights and an end to the filibuster. joining me now is one of the leaders in that charge, bishop william barber. bishop, we appreciate you being here today. the gop official says that the "post" report is, quote, blatantly mischaracterizing a grassroots election worker recruitment video. what do you make of the report and that response? >> well, you know, we've been through this in north carolina,
in 2013, right after the shelby decision that gutted the voting rights fact, we found they used to word integrity but they don't have integrity. their claims of fraud is fraudulent. voter suppression is targeted at black people, but it also will suppress the vote of disabled people, poor people, young people, white people, brown people. it is a group of people who cannot win elections fairly, and so what they want to do is cheat. and so all of these efforts, ending same-day registration, rolling back early voting, trying to deny mail-in ballots, extreme forms of photo i.d., what they're trying to do is what we call abridge the right to vote. the 15th amendment says you cannot deny or abridge the right to vote. they're trying to abridge the right to vote. they're after a small margin and they want to target black people but it hurts everybody and it's a fundamental attack on this democracy. >> bishop, at the same time, there are some republicans who say that these voting
restrictions in some blue states are actually worse than what's being found in some of these red states right now. what do you make of that notion? >> well, voter suppression -- restrictions, period, wherever they are, is wrong. voter -- and we should not have it anywhere. but the bottom line is what we're seeing in georgia, what we're seeing in texas, these 300 new attempts to suppress the vote, you know, really, this is not just about responding to trump. what they're trying to do is they're afraid of two bills in the congress, the hr1 bill, protect the democracy bill, which would expand voting rights, and they are afraid of the john lewis bill, which would restore the voting rights act, because they know most of these bills, particularly in the southern states, would not make it through preclearance. and so, all of this is a strategy. it's a strategy as old as the southern strategy that was birthed in the 1960s as a way of undermining what dr. king called the possibility of the black and white masses joining together in
fusion coalition with brown and indigenous folk to change the electorate. i was talking to two sisters, one white and one black, from west virginia and the white lady said to me, reverend barber, they just don't want us to vote. i said, us who? she said, anybody who's for healthcare, who's for living wages, who's for public education, who's for dealing with ecological justice, they do not want us to vote and that's why we must fight these laws with everything we have. >> and bishop, right now it looks like there are 47 states that are trying to change voting laws at this point. how much does that concern you? how serious is this issue when you look at that large a number? >> well, it's very serious because it shows you that voter suppression is no longer just a southern issue, that the attempts to suppress the vote, which is -- it's broad, which is why you have to have a race analysis and a class analysis. you have to talk about how it targets black people, but you have to talk about how it targets all people, and that's
also why we don't need a filibuster that blocks hr1, that blocks the john lewis bill. that's why we have to say to corporations, we need them to do more than speak out just against the bill in georgia and to just focus on boycotting a corporation. what we really need is for the corporate leaders and the -- those who have money, we need to ask this question. are you funding the senators that have been filibustering expanding voting rights and fixing the voting rights act ever since june 26, 2013, over seven years, and are you pulling your money from them? because even if you speak out against this law, even if you give some money to black organizations but you still fund senators like mcconnell and others that have literally kept us from dealing with these issues, you are still enabling and allowing this voter suppression because you are enabling the politicians who passed the policy or blocked the
policies that would address it. >> this is a conversation that will continue. we will have to leave it here for today. bishop william barber, we appreciate your time, thank you. >> thank you so much. take care. >> you too. thank you for watching msnbc reports. i'm aaron gilchrist. yasmin vossoughian is up next with the challenges of supporting a young family during a pandemic. yasmin talks with a single mother of six about the challenges she has with her kids home for more than a year. an a . ♪ this is a cold call. ♪ yeah, what y'all want?
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good afternoon, everybody, i'm yasmin vossoughian. we got a lot of ground to cover, and a team of correspondents to help us do it. it happened just a short time ago, prince charles, the first royal to speak publicly about the death of his father, as we learn new details about the funeral plans for prince philip, including whether harry and meghan will actually be there. also, defiance from congressman matt gaetz in the face of a new house ethics probe and criminal investigations into his conduct. and republicans flocking tonight to a party featuring donald trump as the manhattan d.a. gathers new evidence in his probe of the former president. plus, we're following the fallout from medical testimony in the trial of the police officer in the death of george floyd. all of that and more but we do want to begin with the breaking news from the uk where just a short time